Now that the Mantri apartment owners association has been registered we can go in for Mantri residents website. There are two options:
1) Get a website, professionally managed, on monthly subscription (Rs.6,000-7000 a month for 700-unit complex). The sites that offer society management software features:
a)CommonFloor (in which Mantri Synergy already has a presence);
b)ApnaComplex (which first contacted us with an offer in September last);
d)Residents Inc (in which 80-unit Bella Tuscany is a member,and we can get input from their residents committee secretary Mr Narasimhan, with whom we are already in touch.)
2)The second option is to develop a website on our own,thus saving a monthly payment (Rs.8 per apartment) to the software developer. Snag is resident volunteers developing a in-house website would have to commit their services for maintenance and trouble-shooting on an ongoing basis. By developing a website on our own we may well be re-inventing the wheel for the n'th time (with the attendant teething trouble), while we have competing portals offering proven software.
The subscription sites have multiple management features such as accounts maintenance, bank account management, cash flow chart, inventory audit, metered billing of utilities, financial/admin reports of residents association.
The interactive features include discussion forum, notice board,apartment owners/residents directory, and other pages that facilitate online communication among the residential community.
As of now many apartment owners use CommonFloor for online interaction and discussion forum. These interactive features are offered free of charge by all society software portals, in the hope that residents associations would move to a subscription package when they have elected office-bearers in place.
CommonFloor, of which many of us are familiar, would have been be a natural candidate for us to migrate to a subscription package.But the snag is, the apartment owner administering the Mantri Synergy page on CommonFloor has decided to limit its access only to apartment owners. Mantri management or PropCare, whose (non)performance and lapses we talk about incessantly in CommonFloor, are blissfully unaware of what we are talking about, because they have no access to our site. This makes our interaction a futile exercise. Besides, many owners buy apartments for investment or renting them.
A Mantri residents website that excludes tenants, PropCare and other stakeholders from access, cannot serve the interest of the Mantri Synergy community. Besides, I reckon, our online interaction on issues of common concern, should be accessible to all, if only to enable the emerging apartment communities on OMR to learn from each others experiences and also to evolve a common approach to infrastructure issues such as water supply, transport, sewage and waste disposal.
While the interactive features of the proposed Mantri site would be open to all, the subscription segments - accounting, and related pages would be password-protected. What we need, I believe, is an official Mantri residents website with a two-step access, and with interactive sections (and only these sections) open to all, while the accounting related features accessible only to apartment owners/their nominees with a password to the site.
It is with this wider objective that we could consider a proposal ApnaComplex made in September/October last year. I have since forwarded e-mail interaction we had with ApnaComplex to relevant ad hoc committee members. Would like to mention that it was ApnaComplex that made contact with us, after seeing our community blog - OMR Resident.